There is clearly a difference between me playing an MMORPG… well, I will say “seriously” for lack of a better word… and me going back to play one for the sake of my annual autumnal nostalgia drive.
In the so-called serious mode, it can be a somewhat OCD-like drive to see and experience the world, to chase down the last quest in a zone, to peek into every corner, run dungeons, fight in events, and so on and so forth. And a key aspect to this is that the world must resist my efforts. If things are too easy, I will lose interest. I should not be able to do everything correctly on the first try every single time.
In fact, I think making things too hard is better than making things too easy, at least to a certain point. Walking out into a the world only to be insta-killed by the first set of mobs is turning the knob too far for most games. And I am not sure how soon you want to transition over from learning how to play the game to the game making things difficult.
In my experiences on the Emerald Dream server, for example, I replayed how WoW used to turn from the playing slaying easy, non-aggro mobs in Elwynn Forest to facing packs of Defias with overlapping aggro zones in the vineyard in one very short step.
But in nostalgia mode, I am not interested in a lot of such thing. I am not interested in grinding my way through a zone’s storyline, I do not want to work hard. I want to run around, visit interesting places, and kill the local boss.
In this, I think EverQuest II might be perfectly arranged for me.
It helps that I left myself a character perfectly setup for a nostalgia tour. I cannot remember if I did this on purpose or not, but my barbarian berserker Sigwerd hit level 42, at which point I outfitted him with a full set of master crafted gear… that probably translates to very good blue items or base level purple in the WoW scale of things… upgraded all his skills, and then parked him.
So, when I did come back to roam I had the maximum amount of time to run around before running into to the “you must completely replace all your equipment every 10 levels” barrier. Add in mercenaries so I can hire a healer and become pretty much invincible to heroic named encounters, and I was set.
So, I ran around visiting places, slaying named mobs, and wrapping up the occasional quest. The slaying named mobs seemed to be helped by the fact that named mobs seem to be up a lot more frequently. Or less people are out there slaying them.
And, like all tourists, I took a series of pictures along the way. I posted some previously, but here are some more.
Of course, some came out blurry. And the JPEG compression is pretty harsh. And half the time I forgot to take a picture. Such a tourist.
Now though Sigwerd has hit level 52. And while I was able to harvest enough rares to re-equip him for another 10 level jaunt, I am wondering where he should head next. What should be on the tourist map for 53-62 in EverQuest II?
I alway liked Tenebrous Tangle at about 52, but Lesser Faydark is quite fun too, once you learn your way around it, anyway.
All the Kingdom of Sky zones are ludicrously easy nowadays. Long before the power-creep really took hold mobs there were easier than average but with your gear and a merc in tow you will barely have to look in their direction before they fall down and beg you take their stuff.
There are a ton of nameds all over (where isn’t there in EQ2?), both indoors and out. There’s also some convoluted plotline I never bothered to follow. More useful and entertaining is the long, newish armor quest and the glider mount quest, although I think you might need to be 60 to start that.
Lesser Faydark is one of the ugliest zones I have ever seen, and one of the most irritatingly laid-out. It has good patches but I rarely go there any more.
Clefts of Rujark, Shimmering Citadel, Silent City, Living Tombs – I love all those. Again, they will be easy enough with a merc, although the odd raid mob scattered throughout may give you pause.
If you want an actual challenge, the Fallen Dynasty zones are still surprisingly hard. They were exceptionally tough at level on release and they have aged better than many. Also the Shadow Odyssey dungeons that scale to your level begin to do so at 50. Those might still be genuinely tough solo+merc.
Really, there is an insane amount of choice. You could level from 50 -60 half a dozen times and never see the same place twice if you wanted. I always use the wikia zone-by-level list http://eq2.wikia.com/wiki/Zones_By_Level and their excellent timelines when I’m stuck for an idea on where to go next.
@Bhagpuss – Yeah, I have been surprised at all of the named mobs I have run into. But I get the feeling that, in the mid-level zones, they aren’t exactly being hunted that much.
Between discovery, killing named mobs, and putting half my exp in the them, AA points have been piling up nicely.
I spent some time in Silent City already, though I did not have much to actually “do” there, as I hadn’t picked up any quests or such. And the only named I found killed me by basically standing in a wall and hitting me while I couldn’t hit him. Haxors!
That Albino Prowler screenshot is a perfect example of EQ2 graphics to me. It really is the ugliest game out in so many ways, and yet some people actually find it decent-looking. Just blows my mind every time I hear/read that.
@SynCaine EQ2 art is incredibly variable. Some of it is gorgeous, some of it is execrable. One thing you could never accuse SoE of is consistency, which is almost top of the list of why they’re my favorite MMO developers.
@SynCaine – Graphically, EQ2 has its ups and downs. Some things can look very good, and the newer content tends to be better over all. Likewise, dungeons tend to look better than overland content.
But there are some pretty bad things in the game. They seemed to have a lot of problems with trees early on. They can look really bad. I think the first expansion was chosen to be the desert so they could at least stick with palm trees, which are easier to make. And even when things did look good, it could kill your system. Qeynos Harbor used to be the killer of frame rates.
And all of that is not helped by the fact that the JPEG compression for screen shots, which I have set to the default, adds an extra layer of ugly on things.
But for the amount of GPU power that things like the character models take (which are just realistic enough to cause uncanny valley issues, but not realistic enough to seem good), and given the state of GPU power back in 2004, I think Blizz chose wisely with their stylized models and such. Trees in Elwynn forest for example look like… well… trees… as opposed to papier mache props from a grammar school production of “Where The Wild Things Are.”
EverQuest II – Mistakes Were Made
For me its not any specific art asset, but how they all come together. Even one bad item, like the trees, throws the entire look off for me. I’d rather have consistent mediocrity than greatness with some bleh mixed in.
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